Early Hitting Pushes Softball Past Wisconsin, 3-1
April 10, 2010
MADISON, Wis.--The Penn State softball team used early hits to down Wisconsin, 3-1, at the Goodman Softball Complex on Saturday afternoon. Righty Lisa Akamine (Escondido, Calif.) won her eighth straight start and 13th overall for the Nittany Lions in the circle.
Penn State (24-11, 3-2 Big Ten) threatened in the first as Danee Collett (Orange, Calif.) and Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.) knocked back-to-back two-out singles putting runners at second and third, but a strikeout ended the threat.
The Nittany Lions gathered two hits in the second inning when Morgan Long (Oro Valley, Ariz.) hit one to left and starting pitcher Akamine laid down a perfect single, beating out the throw. The two would move up a base on a wild pitch and with two outs, the Badgers intentionally walked Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.). Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) slapped a 0-1 pitch to left for an early 1-0 lead.
Akamine worked her way out of a jam in the bottom half of the second when a lead-off walk, hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one away. Akamine struck out two straight Badgers to end the threat.
In the third, Johnson got on base when Wisconsin (9-21, 0-5 Big Ten) shortstop Katie Soderberg made a poor throw to first on a grounder and Lauren Rossi (Yardley, Pa.) laid down a nice bunt for a single. Desi Giordano (West Caldwell, N.J.) sacrificed Rossi and pinch runner Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) over a base. Long smacked a single up the middle two score both runs, but Long was thrown out at second trying to snag an extra base. Long had a multi-hit game for the second consecutive time as she posted a 2-for-3 day against Pittsburgh in the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday. Long is riding an overall four-game hitting streak, while batting .288 this season.
Meanwhile, in the circle, Akamine yielded no hits through her first three innings of work. In the fourth, she allowed a lead-off single and Akamine induced Penn State's first ground-out double play of the year for two outs. After a single by UW starting pitcher Letty Olivarez, Akamine got another grounder to end the threat after allowing the first Badger hits of the game.
After an uneventful fifth inning, Akamine allowed Shannel Blackshear on base with an infield single to short to open the UW half. After a strikeout of sluggler Molly Spence, Akamine walked Whitney Massey to put two on with just one out and got Karla Powell to fly to deep center, moving pinch runner Abby Gregory to third base. Massey stole second with Olivarez at the plate, who would eventually walk to load the bases on a full count. A wild pitch allowed Wisconsin to score its first run of the game and Akamine got Hanewich to ground out to end the threat with a two-run lead.
Senior pitcher Jackie Hill (San Jose, Calif.) came into close the game in the seventh, earning her Big Ten-leading fourth save of the season in a flawless inning. Akamine went six innings with three hits, an earned run and five walks allowed, while striking out five. Akamine lowered her earned-run average to 2.21 on the season, upping her record to 13-3.
The Nittany Lions return to action on Sunday when they take on Wisconsin in the second half of the two-game series. First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. ET as the game will have live stats on GameTracker and live streaming audio through UWBadgers.com. Live commentary will also be available through Twitter (@PSULionSoftball).